By Mayah Taylor, M.A.
The Relationship Between Community Support Groups and Anger
How do support groups or more specifically community support help people with anger management? Who needs it? Why? What does it do for you? These are the questions we tend to ask ourselves when we hear the word “support.” Most if not all of us experience the feeling that “I must not be normal. This never happens to anyone else.” Or does it? I see this most often in our private practice when clients attend their initial visit. Most clients, when they start therapy, feel that they have no one to relate to and that they are on their own based on how they view things and their feelings. It can be isolating and lonely at times for clients without community support or someone who understands them.
How does community support groups lessen anger?
It is our nature as humans to be social individuals. Each of us may differ in how often we like or choose to be social, however; we are social beings nonetheless. So, what does this have to do with community support and anger? A strong support system is important to the success of a person. The support system can include friends, family, co-workers, and those in the community to name a few. No matter the struggle, a solid support system is a key feature in a person’s journey to overcome that struggle.
More specifically, if a person struggles with anger either directly or indirectly, their social activity and community support will play a role in their success to overcome it. The difference between a person struggling with anger with no support and a person struggling with anger with support is significant. Again, we are social creatures. We thrive in an environment where there are others to socialize with, others to support us, comfort us, and most importantly others who are there for us.
Having the support of your community in addition to your friend and family support can have a positive impact on your overall health. You may find that how you view yourself or self-esteem, increases from that support. A foundation of support from your community can aid you when you are feeling alone or by yourself. You may even find that you are angry about fewer things than before as you build your support system. Why? As you build your support system, there begins to be more people in your corner that can aid you in different ways with the stressors or struggles that you face. Which in turn, makes it easier to cope, overcome, heal, and succeed.
Stress can be a key factor in what causes our anger. Too much stress and not enough coping mechanisms to control or reduce it can trigger an anger fueled meltdown. So how can social support help reduce stress? Shadiya Baqutayan conducted a study on 120 college students to discuss and understand the importance of social support in managing stress. She chose college students because during the college years, students are subject to high-stress levels, increased demand and challenges to change and adjust. They are also subject to the challenge of the academic pressures that occur during the college years. In her study, Baqutayan concluded that students with less social support reported more stress (Baqutayan, 2011).
I realize this study focused on college students and the relationship of social support can have on their stress. However; stress is a universal concept. It affects the average person every day on different levels. Stress is not just limited to college students.
The point of sharing this study was to highlight that if social support can make such an impact on the stress of a college student who at certain periods of time accumulate a significant amount of stress, then surely it can have the same effect on the average person who is not a college student but accumulates similar levels or degrees of stress. The point is to show you that social support matters! Community support matters! Community support is a type of coping mechanism that we can use to help alleviate and minimize the stress we take on, thereby preventing and helping us cope with the anger inside of us.
Baqutayan makes a great point in saying that social support groups can serve as a means of intervening in a person’s appraisal or how we view what’s stressing us out and the source of the stress. It can also prevent the impact the source of our stress has on us and even provide solutions to minimize or get rid of the stress (Baqutayan, 2011). Social support groups benefits us in other ways by providing alternative resources and solutions to help us with stress and provide a different way of viewing the stress or challenging the importance of the stress altogether.
It is important that we have good support groups because it is the foundation of who we are as people. It can help us cope with the stressors in the world that we are faced with every day. The key to a healthy life of wellness, peace, hope, and stability is to be able to cope with stress when it presents itself. When our stress and our ability to cope become unbalanced, our anger can emerge and get the best of us which then, in turn, leads to unhealthy habits and situations.
A good place to start is to evaluate who you have in your corner to support you. If you don’t have anyone in your personal life, then ask yourself: “Who in my community can help me?” Community support is not limited to your friends and loved ones. It extends to doctors, pastors, churches, hospital workers, psychologists, counselors, etc. Your support is out there waiting for you.
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Baqutayan, S. (2011). Stress and Social Support. Indian Journal of Psychological Medicine, 33(1), 29–34. http://doi.org/10.4103/0253-7176.85392